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The Rifle Mosin or it's western name, the Mosin Nagant rifle owes it's beginnings to the circumstance of modern warfare. The advent of the repeating rifle led the Russian Imperial government to start a search for a replacement for their antiquated Berdans. A commission was established to find a design that would compete with the Mauser, Lebel, Lee-Metford,   Mannlicher, Schmidt-Rubin and the  Krag-Jorgensen. They could have never imagined that the result of their efforts would see service in battle for the next 80 years while the other rifles became museum pieces.  A  Russian army Captain, Sergei Ivanovich Mosin would eventually produce the winner of the competition for a new design.

Mosin's rifle wasn't an overnight success. He began work on the design in 1883. His primary focus was on the development of a magazine fed infantry rifle. He submitted several designs for internal fed magazine rifles to the commission in 1884 and 1885. His initial designs were in 10.6 mm.  Between 1887 and 1889, working with the smaller caliber then coming into general use among European armies, Mosin developed a 5-shot, straight-line magazine prototype in 7.62 mm; employing the antediluvian Russian measurements of the era it was designated 3-line caliber. The liniya, or line is equivalent to 0. 10 in or 2.54 mm; therefore, 3 linii equals 7.62 mm or .30 in.(Lapin, "The Mosin Nagant Rifle")

All of his efforts were rejected until October 1889. The Belgian weapons designer Leon Nagant submitted his 3.5 line (8.89 mm) rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition for testing by the Russian government. Both designers' weapons were tested from 1890 through 1891 by units of the Russian Army. Initially, the home team headed by Mosin lost as the army favored Nagant's design. However, Russia being Russia, the votes were overturned in favor of Mosin. The reason behind this move was most likely political. Typical of Russian ingenuity and political deftness, both designs were incorporated into a rifle that featured the Mosin model with the Nagant designed feed system. This rifle was designated the Pekhotniya vintovka obr. 1891g. or Three-Line Rifle of the year 1891.

Pekhotniya vintovka obr. 1891g.

(Model 1891 Three-Line Rifle)

Photo Courtesy of Empire Arms

 

A number of changes were made to the M1891 in the years up to about 1910. Many of these changes were the result of Russia's adoption of the M1908 spitzer bullet whose ballistics required or made advisable certain changes to the entire weapon. Whether the changes occurred in 1909 or 1910, or both, is still uncertain. The steel finger rest behind the trigger guard was eliminated in 1894. New barrel bands were introduced which fitted flush with the underside of the stock rather than protruding below the stock as the earlier type did. A hand guard was added. Sometime between 1908 and 1910 a convex rear sight leaf was designed by V. P Konovalov, of the Sestroryetsk Arms Factory. Many sources link this change with the introduction of the Spitzer bullet and it's greater accuracy. (John Walter, Rifles of the World)

The original rear sight had graduations marked on the left side of the sight base from 200 to 1000 arshini (1 arshin = 710 mm, or about 28 in). In the 1920s, after the Soviets adopted the metric system, the sights were re-marked in meters as well, in increments of 200.  Also in 1909 or 1910 a metal bolt was added through the rear of the finger groove to strengthen the stock against the effects of recoil. The sling swivels, that attached under the forward barrel band and at the front end of the magazine, were replaced around 1910 by slots cut through the stock between the barrel bands and midway between the butt and the trigger-guard and lined with metal washers. This conversion to sling-slots resulted in using a sling assembly consisting of two leather straps resembling a dog collar through which the sling it's self was fastened. In the years between 1892 and 1908 the Russian Army took delivery of 313,375 M1891 Infantry rifles and an additional 54,235 training rifles. (Lapin, "The Mosin Nagant Rifle") Some of these training rifles are rumored to be showing up on the surplus market today in a single shot configuration.

Data & Facts

Produced from 1891 to 1928

Arsenals - Tula, Ishevsk, Sestroretsk,Chatterault, Westinghouse, Remington

Initially produced without a hand guard

Sling initially attached from a hanger on front barrel band to a hanger attached to the front of the magazine. On later models the sling attached through a slot cut in the fore stock using leather collars and a slot in the butt stock. The M91 is often found with the Imperial markings defaced. This was done after the Soviet revolution. 

 

Stats

Length: 1288 mm w/out bayo

Weight (unloaded): 4.06kg

Barrel: 760mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 615mps

Dragunskaya vintovka

(Model 1891Three-Line Cossack Rifle)

&

Kazachya I dragunskaya vintovka

(Model 1891Three-Line Dragoon Rifle)

 

91 Kosak 1896 Ishevsk

photo from K-H Wrobel

91 Dragoon 1904 Ishevsk

photo from K-H Wrobel

 

91 Kosak 1918 Ishevsk

KA3 Marking

photo from K-H Wrobel

 

Data & Facts

Dragoon Rifle (драгунская) Intended for use by Dragoons (mounted infantry). 64 mm (2.5 in) shorter and 0.4 kg (0.9 lb) lighter than the M1891. The Dragoon rifle's dimensions are identical to the later M1891/30 rifle, and most Dragoon rifles were eventually reworked into M1891/30s. Most such rifles, known to collectors as "ex-Dragoons", can be identified by their pre-1930 date stampings, but small numbers of Dragoon rifles were produced from 1930 to 1932 and after reworking became impossible to distinguish from purpose-built M1891/30s.

Cossack Rifle (казачья) Introduced for Cossack horsemen, it is almost identical to the Dragoon rifle but is sighted for use without a bayonet.

Lapin writes, "The "Cossack" (kazach 'ya) version was introduced for those horse borne gentlemen in the later 1890s. It was almost identical to the dragoon model but originally had a flat rear sight leaf similar to that of the M1891/30. This sight was changed with the adoption of the M1908 spitzer bullet, and was thereafter a saw tooth ramp-and-leaf sight almost identical to that of the Dragoon. Unlike the Infantry and Dragoon models, the Cossack rifle was sighted to be used without a bayonet as they were not issued with this weapon. The Cossacks were traditionally armed with sabers. One report states that the Cossack model was originally produced fully-stocked, as was the M1907 carbine, but the author has been unable to find any evidence for this claim. The Cossack rifle was initially made without the reinforcing bolts in the stock, but rifles made in and after 1909 did have the reinforcing bolts. It is also possible that older weapons were retrofitted with the bolt after adoption of the new cartridge." Cossack rifles are recognized by the letters Kaz,  just below the serial number.

Stats

Length: 1218 mm w/out bayo

Weight (unloaded): 3690 kg.

Barrel: 730mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 615mps

Karabina obr. 1907

(Model 1907 Carbine)

 

Data & Facts

Produced from 1910 - 1917

Arsenals - Ishevsk

Often mistakenly called the Carbine 1910 because of some minor improvements made that year. Rear sight is very short and marked from 400 -2000 arshini. 

The Model 1907 Carbine  is one of the most controversial models sought after by collectors. The M1907 carbine is often mistakenly referred to as the M1910 Carbine. There were a number of changes were made to the carbine around 1910, but it was never designated M1910 . The M1891 was too long and too heavy for engineers, artillerymen and signalers to carry and the cavalry found the M1891 rifle awkward on horseback. "As early as 1895 a carbine (karabin) prototype was developed, reportedly by altering the dragoon rifle. Introduced in 1907 the carbine, at 40 in and 7.6 Ibs, was 11.37 in shorter and 2. 1 lbs. lighter than the infantry rifle Pekhotniya vintovka. The carbine was stocked almost to the front sight and thus did not take a bayonet. The M 1907 carbine has a rear sight with graduations of 400 to 2,000 arshini (about 312 to 1,560 yards)." (Lapin, "The Mosin Nagant Rifle")

Production of new carbines was undertaken at the Izhevsk factory, and existing Dragoon and Cossack rifles were altered to carbines at Sestroryetsk using a system developed by N. I. Yurov.

Soviet-era, arsenal-reworked carbines are on the market which have tsarist-era dated hexagonal receivers, and are advertised as M1907 or M1910 carbines. Genuine M1907s are rare finds at the local gun show should be very carefully examined before buying. Make sure you check out the rear sight, front sight, hand guard, and stock.

Stats

Length: 1015mm

Weight (unloaded): 3276 kg.

Barrel: 508mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 560 mps

Vintovka 1891/30

(Model 91/30 Rifle)

Type I & Type II

 

photo contributed by Empire Arms

 

Data & Facts - Type I

Produced from 1927 -1932 ( some later dates have been seen)

Arsenals - Ishevsk, Tula

Uses Dragoon stock and has a blade type front sight. Some retained the Dragoon rear sight marked in Arshini.

Data & Facts - Type II

Produced from 1933 - 1944

Arsenals - Ishevsk, Tula

Improved front and rear sights and used a spring type barrel band retainer. Produced mainly with a round receiver after 1938.

The Model 1891/30 Rifle (Vintovka obr. 1891/30) was commissioned by the Revolutionary Military Council of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. Early in 1924 a committee consisting of Ye. K. Kabakov and I. A. Komaritskii, began work on modernizing the M1891, using the dragoon model as a basis. The first trial rifles were made in 1927 and by 1930 a new design had been agreed upon, which was standardized on 28 April as the "Rifle Model 1891/30" (vintovka obrazers 1891/30goda.) Production of the M1891/30 began on 10 June 1930  at Tula and Izhevsk and ceased at Tula in the spring or summer of 1942 . Izhevsk discontinued production in 1944. Because supplies of M1891 parts (barrels, receivers, stocks, etc.) were in great supply, some M1891/30s were still being made with hexagonal receivers as late as mid-1936.

The story of the M91/30 can't be told without mentioning the trials and tribulations of the arsenals that produced it during the Great Patriotic War or W.W.II. The Soviet Union was able to produced a sufficient amount of weapons on a wartime footing to equip it's massive army while in some cases moving that production hundreds of miles and maintaining their output in crude facilities that often times were nothing more than a bombed out tractor factory. Izhevsk and Tula were fortunate to remain behind soviet lines during the war. Although Tula was threatened at one point. On the other hand was forced to cease production in 1941 due to the approach of Finnish troops. The entire operation was relocated to Leningrad where it resumed production. There are conflicting stories about this though. Karl-Heinz Wrobel indicates that Sestroryetsk discontinued their weapons production long before the war. However, A number of SVT40's appeared on the US market in the past few years with what was believed to be Sestroryetsk arsenal marks. A story has emerged that this is the Kirov mark. However, I can not find any documented evidence of Kirov being an official state arsenal. There is some mention of an arsenal being relocated there but Tula and Izhevsk never moved. I can only surmise that the Soviets installed the equipment from Sestroryetsk there to produce SVT's and the arms makers used the Sestroryetsk mark.

M91/30's were produced using both the older hex receivers as well as the more modern round receivers. Those produced during the height of the war had at least two distinguishing features: extremely rough milling on the receiver and a high receiver wall on the left side of the receiver. Both of these measures were intentional to cut down on the milling process and to expedite the guns to the front line soldier.

Stats

Length: 1218mm

Weight (unloaded): 3890 kg.

Barrel: 730 mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 860 mps

Snayper vintovka obr. 1891/30g.

(Model 91/30 Sniper Rifle)

 

K-H Wrobel Collection

(See the Sniper Section)

Data & Facts

Type PE Produced from 1931- 1936  

PEM 1937- 1942  

PU 1942 - 1958

Arsenals - Ishevsk, Tula

PE/PEM used a longer scope using optics initially made by Zeiss. Type PU is more common.

A sniper variant of the M91/30 was also produced and competed in the field with the Tokarov SVT40 for the main sniper rifle of the Soviet forces. Even though the SVT was newer and a semiautomatic to boot, the M91/30 sniper eventually won out as the preferred sniper rifle.  

Stats

Length: 1218mm

Weight (unloaded): 3890 kg.

Barrel: 730 mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 860 mps

Karabina obr. 1938g.

(Model 1938 Carbine)

Data & Facts

Produced from 1938 - 1944

Arsenals - Ishevsk,Tula

Rear sights marked from 100 to 1000 meters. Some models are found using M44 Carbine stocks.

Even though the M91/30 was shorter than the M1891,  cavalry, artillery, signalers, and other support units still required lighter, less bulky weapons. Drawing from the role of the M1907 carbine, the Soviets adopted a new carbine, the M38 which was officially entered into the inventory in 1939. This model differed from the M1907 in that it was not fully-stocked and used the new hooded-post front sight as found on the M1891/30 rifle. The M1938, like its predecessor, did not accept a bayonet and had an improved rear sight graduated in 100s of meters, indicated by the numerals 1 through 10, stamped on the rear sight leaf. The M1938 was produced from 1939 to 1945, it was replaced by the M1944.

Stats

Length: 1020mm

Weight (unloaded): 3276 kg.

Barrel: 517mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 820 mps

Karabina obr. 1944g

(Model 1944 Carbine)

 

K-H Worbel Collection

 

Data & Facts

Produced from 1943 - 1948

Arsenals - Ishevsk,Tula (Tula M44's considered rare)

War year models feature a bayonet mount with one "ear" - post war has two. Many war year production M44's had laminated stocks.

The M/44 was the natural extension of the M38 carbine. Soviet battle experiences showed that the M91/30 was still too long of a rifle to be practical in urban and confined war fighting environments. Bolotin, in his book, Soviet Small Arms and Ammunition -reported that a number of requests had been made for an improved infantry weapon. Several sources indicate that although a carbine was desired, the troops wanted to also have the benefit of being able to utilize a bayonet. Unlike the M91/30, the Soviets came up with a unique solution, a side mounted, permanently affixed folding bayonet. The bayonet was a cruciform spiked affair with a point shaped like a screw driver. It was extended by pulling down on the guard and rotating it up and letting it seat on the muzzle. To collapse it, one simply pulled it up and rotated it back into it's stored position on the right side of the weapon.

The M/44 stock was mostly a shortened version of the M91/30 and later was produced in a laminated version. Production of the carbine was started in 1943 for prototypes and trials, and continued under license in the satellite Soviet states and China well into the 50's. By 1944, the development of the 7.62x39mm M43 round was underway and new auto-loading rifles were making their appearance. The Model 1944 features a folding bayonet that replaced the detachable type on older models. As late as the Viet Nam War, the Type 53 (Chinese) was standard issue to the Viet Cong. Polish examples of this rifle were captured in Granada during the invasion by U.S. Troops. More recently, M44's have seen service in the Balkans and Chechnya as well as during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. 

Stats

Length: 1020mm

Weight (unloaded): 3850 kg.

Barrel: 517mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 820 mps

Karabina obr. 9159g

(Model 91/59 Carbine)

Photo from JYD Collection

Data & Facts

Produced in 1959

Arsenals - Ishevsk ( I have heard of one Tula example )

Made from 91/30's.  Produced for the Reserve Police.

The 91/59 Carbine was at first believed to be produced in the former Warsaw Pact but evidence has surfaced that points to the former Soviet Union as these rifles were used by internal security and border patrol units. Essentially, the 91/59 is a carbine length rifle made from M91/30 barreled receivers and mated with an M44 stock. One distinctive feature is the rear sight which is a standard 91/30 sight with the sight increments milled off. 

Stats

Length: 1010 mm

Weight (unloaded): 3850 kg.

Barrel: 517mm, 4 groove, right-hand twist

Magazine: 5 round integral box

Rate of Fire: Bolt-action, 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Caliber: 7.62x54Rmm vintovochnyi patron obr 1891g

Muzzle Velocity: 820 mps















  
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